Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (4.5 Stars)
"Thunder Bay, Ontario, is our destination. I'm going to kill her. Anna. Anna Korlov. Anna Dressed in Blood."
Blurb from Goodreads: Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
Warning: Avoid reading this is the middle of the night, you're colorful imagination might render you sleepless
One word. Wow.
Cas is already used to this routine, be on assignment, get the dead person killed, get another assignment, and on to the next location. Its a cycle that he's grown used to. Now he's in Thunder Bay, to kill Anna, Anna Dressed in Blood. It should just be an easy job, but never did he thought that Anna much more complicated that he thought she would be. How can he kill her, if she's gotten under his skin?
Anna Dressed in Blood has a different writing style than most paranormal YA novel. When I first read the blurp, I knew it was an interesting read, it kinda reminded me of Hereafter because of the whole ghost thing, but it wasn't until I started reading it that I saw how good it was. The plot was pretty simple, I can't say that its original because there are fairly many books that has a ghost hunting dude, then the whole ghost-connection isn't near original. The pacing was an okay for me, the time frame didn't actually feel long, I kinda thought that everything happened in a span of a week, but in reality, the whole thing happened in a span of two months or so.
Nothing big happened at first, Cas got to meet some other characters like Carmel, Mike, Thomas, and a few others like Will and Chase. Cas will settle in, just to get some info on Anna, and I didn't wait that long before he finally sees Anna. It was the most creepiest moment ever. I had goosebumps as I was reading, I give plus points on Kendare here, she wrote Anna well. Anna was very pretty in my imagination, in a weird eerie kind of way. Kendare didn't exaggerate on her description, and it gave a much more scary effect. The first meeting was as expected, like what it said in the blurp, Cas survived, Anna didn't kill him. But why?
"Instead I find a ghost with the strength of a storm, black eyes and pale hands, not a dead person at all but a goddess. Persophone back from Hades, or Hecate half-decayed."
After that meeting, Cas can't stop thinking about Anna, he knew that something was different about her and he had to find out. This was the reason why I liked Cas, after seeing something in Anna, he tried to make an effort, though he had his stupid moments, he tried. I slowly found out who Anna was, why she was like that and why she did everything. It was definitely scary, and sad what happened to her. That was the light to the mystery. The secret why she was Anna, dressed in blood. At first I didn't even understand why Kendare wrote it this way, but at the end, I finally understand that it was Anna's story. Not Cas'.
Though Cas was the person behind the POV, I didn't feel that connected with him. I liked him, he was funny, honorable, and smart. He was compassionate enough to try and understand Anna even though Thomas and Carmel didn't understand that. Sure he was a good guy, but I felt connected more with Anna. Anna is a mystery, but at the same time, I easily understood who she was and how she acts. Even though Anna was crazy powerful, she was still a girl, a fragile, broken and vulnerable girl.
Then there's the ending, *Huff* that torture enducing ending. I don't know why most authors write endings like this(no pun intended), but it definitely made me more excited to read the sequel.
WHY DO I RECOMMEND IT?
For me, the book didn't tell a story of an awesome ghosthunter (which Cas was), or to show how a connection between a human and ghost is possible (which is very sweet by the way). For me, Kendare Blake wrote the story of a lone girl, alone, trapped. Finally meeting someone who could set her free, at least just for a few moments. Anna Dressed in Blood is an awesome read, and I definitely can't wait to read Girl of Nightmares.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I tire of writing these things in the third person. So. I write fiction, apparently mostly YA. I didn't know this, but like Stephen King says, writers are the last ones to know what it is they've written. My first novel,Sleepwalk Society is a college story. I guess it falls into that no man's land they call, "New Adult". Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares are teen horror. My short fiction can be found online in numerous places.
But enough about that. When I am not writing or reading, you can generally find me sitting around wondering what the hell I'm going to do with my life. That, or being a gastronome, plotting a new recipe. Perhaps on a run or hike, playing tennis or watching Big Cat Diaries with my feline. This summer I have saved a total of three turtles during attempted road crossings.
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